Trends in denim preferences for this summer and fall will be greatly affected by how denim brands re-define their meaning of “premium” and adjust price points that attract the greatest percentage of targeted buyers”, and what young people consider fashionable moving into the new season. As we reported last month in the story “Denim Trends in Purchasing Patterns, Changing Size of Market Indicate Opportunities within Specific Demographics in Youth Culture for the Industry” when it comes to targeting one’s denim brand, there’s a new delicate balance in creating a price point that equals a certain achievable volume for the brand, and/or price points that attract different target markets, with less volume, but with a difference made up from the higher costs charged.

When looking at age groups and spending patterns from our Street Fashion Report among 15-35-year-olds”, by age groups, 26-35-year-olds spend the highest average on denim jeans at $66 per pair, followed by 15-17-year-olds spending on average $53 per pair, which indicates a strong new younger demographic that’s buying denim. This is followed by 21-25-year-olds who spend on average $50 per pair on denim jeans, then 18-20-year-olds who spending on average $42 per pair on denim jeans.

Overall, these results among others quantify the specific price points for attracting specific demographics, as well the brands that fit into various categories. Also, based on the size and changes of the marketplace, you can see where opportunities lie and how various strategies need to be targeted based on gender and age groups. For example, at 26-years old, people tend to spend more on average, but buy less pairs per year. However this is a strong marketplace for premium denim. However the savvy demographic of 18-20-year-olds are not paying quite as much on average as 15-17-year-olds, often because they are out on their own for the first time, which again changes their preferences in types of denim, and therefore brands which are different than top preferences among other demographics. However just because this age group has a lower payment average, it doesn’t mean there is less market opportunity. For example, some savvy denim brands will see this as a way to increase sales by creating a brand, fit, and style that attract this age group, but at a price point that makes more sense such as $42 a pair vs. premium at $100. The offset amount of sales volume at the correct price point may result in a successful strategy for a target demographic that has a smaller size of market dollar-wise.

Among 21-25, while they are not buying denim as often, they are spending more per pair than 18-20-year-olds, which also indicates the brands that are most successful in capturing this marketplace, including a greater variety of premium denim but also a crossover of denim brands that are targeted for a lower price point. What’s most interesting in terms of the future of denim is with the 15-17-year-old age group that is buying denim in the highest volume, and at higher averages than even 18-20-year-olds and 21-25-year-olds. This indicates a market that’s growing up understanding denim, and is buying in volume and quantity -but often still with parents money. Premium denim brands and boutiques should take note of this in terms of market opportunities in appealing to style, texture, washes, and cuts in style that may appeal most to this younger demographic.

In Label Networks’ presentation at MAGIC last month” we featured styles and trends in denim and the brands that are targeting youth culture markets through specific aspects of the marketplace. Here are some of the results:

Slide 1: Denim Styles -Specific styles brands that will appeal to certain target demographics

  • Grippers -skate and punk influenced are still strong in youth culture markets and have the greatest chance for reaching a younger, street-savvy demographic of 13-19-year-olds
  • Bootleg, 17-inch is coming back by denim designers which is a safer bet in attracting a wider marketshare (if the price points are on target) because the style is classic and wearable by a greater number of people
  • Double Jeans -the jeans over jeans look, and in the case of the women’s brand Hellz Bellz, this style will appeal to a fashionable female looking for the next phase in denim shorts. skirts, and overalls. The style originated in Japan with young people wearing their most “authentic” denim, usually Levi’s or Wranglers, with a pair over another and the outer pair unbuttoned and folded down to reveal the layer underneath.
  • Faded, Grunge, Skirts -even worn in Japan by young women where denim was not usually worn as often, we see this coming in heavily this summer in skirts, but also paired with a revitalized concept of button-down, but fitted plaid shirts and houndstooth patterns
  • Nu Rave Denim: Grey, Colors -red, yellow, green, continue to attract those into showing their style. This will also be popular again in Europe during festival season.
  • Metallics in Denim -Fox Silver program among others are experimenting with using silver and gold in denim which adds to the bling factor of denim as a canvas of expression.
  • Selvedged -Generating a Cult of its Own -People are who into denim and want to know the entire backstory are among the leaders buying up selvedged denim
  • High-waisted -while the style is popular among brands like 18 Amendment, it will attract only a specific sort of female denim connoisseur and most likely evolve into another type of denim style, generally overalls

Slide 2: Denim Trends in Brands

  • Changes in the definition of what is “Premium” denim have started with brands such as Fox Silver, Alpinestars denim, Nikita denim, Drifter, Cheap Monday -all indicating that their unique styles are “Premium” in style, yet don’t have to cost a fortune
  • Age Demographics Dictating Trends -As indicated in the last section, different styles work for different target markets, i.e. 15-17-year-olds look for different silhouettes such as grippers than a 25-year-old who may be into Nu Rave. For denim styles, it’s important to check influences of the age groups mostly, i.e. skateboarding younger, rocker indie looks, and among older people, the cult of selvedged and knowing the backstory
  • What to expect in the future? Savvier, younger markets at 15-17 who know what they want and what they are willing to spend which is already changing how denim designers need to capture new markets
  • Asia Markets -Japan, South Korea, China -are making their own designs and changing the landscape of denim whereby some of the leading-edge denim brands are now coming from these locations including denim and specialty boutiques in these countries catering to their designers.

For more information on the Denim sections from Label Networks’ Global Youth Culture Studies including top brands, frequency, and stores in North America Europe Japan and China, email info@labelnetworks.com; (323) 630-4000 about our Premium Global Youth Culture Subscription 2008.